Last week, we introduced our new metric
, Expected Points, for NFL games using simple box score statistics. We'll continue to evaluate teams on weekly basis. Below is the breakdown for Week 16.
The most glaring and contradicting games this week are Eagles-Giants, Patriots-Jets, Dolphins-Bills, and Steelers-Ravens.
The Eagles and Giants played on Thursday Night Football, with the Giants finally seeing a bit of bad luck. As stated before, per our model, the Giants are likely going to outperform their Expected Points by more than any team over the last three seasons. The Giants outplayed the Eagles, for the most part, but Eli Manning's pick six along with a few other turnovers in Eagles' territory ruined their chances at a win.
The Patriots blew out the Jets by an expected margin of 35-1. This is by far the most one-sided game of the season. The results are not surprising considering the season these two teams have gone through. The Jets packed it in a few weeks ago (Muhammad Wilkerson missed his own birthday cake when he skipped a team meeting for crying out loud!) and they still don't have a quarterback that is able to play at an adequate level.
The Dolphins and Bills put on an offensive show this week. The Fins gained 494 yards of total offense while the Bills gained 589. Remarkably, the Bills gained nearly 600 yards, didn't turn the ball over a single time, and still found a way to lose. Dan Carpenter failed on two field goal attempts, one of which was in overtime. Rex Ryan also elected to punt the ball back to the Dolphins and effectively play for a tie in a lost season with about four minutes left in overtime. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Rex.
The Steelers and Ravens was the other game that featured a winner that would have been expected to lose. The Ravens didn't outgain the Steelers, but they did turn Ben Roethlisberger over twice deep in Steelers' territory. To top it off, the Ravens drove into the Steelers' side of the field in four of their first five drives of the game and came away with just six points in the first half. They continued to play on the Steelers' side of the field thanks to the turnovers in the third quarter, but John Harbaugh continually elected for short punts and field goals. Joe Flacco isn't without blame either. As the Ravens got closer to the goal line, Flacco became more conservative, rarely throwing the ball down field even when he wasn't pressured in the pocket. One could argue that seven of the Ravens' first nine drives had opportunities to score. Baltimore ultimately lost the game due to lack of aggressiveness in those situations and electing to attempt field goals. When the Steelers got their opportunities to score touchdowns, they kept their usual aggressive approach and stole the game.
Also note that the Buccaneers outperformed their expectancy by quite a bit, despite losing by a touchdown in New Orleans. They currently own an 8-7 record but rank towards the bottom of the league in most of their peripherals including Expected Points, ranking just 21st overall in collective expected win percentage on the season.